Specialized has a new 29 hardtail out this year. It’s the Carve. The idea is to slot a bike between the Rockhopper & the Stumpjumper, as Bike Radar puts it “A fresh design from the ground up, it slots into the line-up between the stalwart trail-ready Rockhopper and the more race-orientated old man of the Specialized family, the Stumpjumper.”
Near the end of the review Bike Radar points out that “Specialized’s engineers have been telling us for some time that big wheels are the future for hardtail and short to mid travel full sussers, but up until now they’ve been giving many riders a choice. Not any more. The Carve is a bold statement of intent – a take-it-or-leave-it approach that simpliﬁes the choice for hardtail riders.” They observe that not only has Specialized gone all in for 29ers they also really have their geometry dialed in.
There are 3 models. The Carve Comp with a RockShox XC32 fork & 9spd SLX @ $1350, The Expert with a Recon Silver TK air sprung fork & 10spd Shimano @ $1650, and the Pro with a RockShox Recon Gold fork & Shimano XT. All 3 have Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brake. All three models also use a triple chainring crank giving a wide range of gears for any trail type. While I personally really like a 2x setup for the Chattanooga area, I’ve got to admit for the Carve’s intended rider that is a wise parts spec.
Bike Radars pick of the 3 models: “Our test bike, the Expert, splits the difference at £1,300 ($1900, aren’t we glad we live in the States). With a sensible mix of components and a RockShox Recon air fork, for our money it’s the pick of the range”. Look here for the full review.